Apple already showed us a taste of the new version of iTunes during the iPhone 5 launch last September, but now is when we can finally put our paws on it. iTunes 11 is a big step forward for a player that has long since ceased to be that to become a sort of tailor-made drawer of the apple’s device synchronization.
For its eleventh birthday, iTunes has returned to the design table to rebuild itself around our music library (and series, movies, books and apps) by integrating it to the core with iCloud so that the synchronisation function is now more transparent and user-friendly.
The new design of iTunes 11 is notably cleaner and more modern, eliminating the sidebar where we traditionally found the different sections of our library, as well as the devices and playlists to reorganize these elements in a more practical way. So the contents of our library now dominate the entire space by displaying the songs from an album in a new view that’s immediately reminiscent of iOS folders.
In this view, we will have direct access to the iTunes store to complete our albums with more songs or discover recommendations based on our preferences and those of other users who have the same tastes. The store design has also been radically changed to match the one we already enjoy as iOS 6 users on the iPad, iPhone and iPod touch, and we’ll finally have a quick and easy way to access our history to remember at any time that movie whose trailer looked good or the app we downloaded three days ago.
Another nice novelty is the new Mini-player , smaller but at the same time with more features. If before we could only switch between songs, return to the previous one, pause or play and adjust the volume, now we can even search for songs to add to the playlist; a list that, by the way, we can now view and modify at all times thanks to the new “Next” button.
Last but not least, iCloud integration has reached maturity, automatically storing all our purchases in our Mac or PC library regardless of the device we use to make them and offering us the ability to play music, movies and TV shows directly from iCloud . iCloud even remembers where we go from a movie or show so we can start watching it on Apple TV and finish it on the iPad without any major setbacks.
iTunes will be available for free download for both Mac and PC via the Apple website, but if you can’t wait, don’t waste a minute and check out the updates on the Mac App Store. It’ll be worth your while.
Update: You can now download the Mac OS X version from the website, as well as the Windows version.